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UN denies forcing Aasia Bibi's lawyer to leave Pakistan

November 06, 2018

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Aasia Bibi's lawyer Saiful Mulook (L) recently claimed that he was forced out of Pakistan by the UN and EU. — File
Aasia Bibi's lawyer Saiful Mulook (L) recently claimed that he was forced out of Pakistan by the UN and EU. — File

The United Nations on Tuesday denied that it had forced Saiful Mulook, the lawyer of Aasia Bibi, to leave the country.

Saiful Mulook had fled to the Netherlands after violence erupted over the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the conviction of Aasia Bibi, who was on death row until her acquittal.

At a news conference in The Hague on Monday, Mulook said he was “put on a plane against my wishes” even though he had refused to leave the country without ensuring that his client was out of prison.

The UN, however, rejected his claim today, with its spokesperson Eri Kaneko explaining: “The UN in Pakistan extended its assistance to Mr. Mulook at his request and did not force him to leave the country against his wishes, nor can the UN force someone to leave Pakistan against his or her will."

Mulook said he contacted a UN official in Islamabad after the outbreak of clashes.

“And then they (the UN) and the European nation ambassadors in Islamabad, they kept me for three days and then put me on a plane against my wishes,” he said.

Asia Bibi had spent nearly a decade on death row after being accused of blasphemy following a dispute with fellow villagers over drinking from the same bowl of water.

But she remains in Pakistan after Prime Minister Imran Khan struck a deal with the hardliners behind the protests to bar her from leaving until a final court appeal is heard.

Mulook, her attorney, had previously told AFP before his departure on Saturday that he was leaving because “in the current scenario, it's not possible for me to live in Pakistan”.